For centuries, Derbyshire has been renowned for making and creativity; from its rich textiles heritage forged in mills across the Derwent Valley, to its rolling landscapes inspiring artists and photographers alike.

‘The art scene in Derbyshire is vibrant and there’s so much talent and a will to create,’ says textile artist and head of The Derbyshire Makers Sharon O’Connell.

‘The county is a hotbed of art and crafts – I’m constantly blown away by the determination of our makers, despite the limited funding available.’

As an accomplished needle felting textile artist with a degree in Applied Art, as well having a commercial background in retail, events and marketing, Sharon brings a wealth of experience to her role at The Derbyshire Makers.

Also, in being a practising artist, Sharon feels she can relate to the importance of the organisation in supporting local creatives.

‘The group originally started as a networking group in 2019 to bring Derbyshire makers and artists together for like-minded support,’ reveals Sharon.

‘It’s also vital in developing new business opportunities and creative collaborations, such as mentoring by established artists.’

Sharon O'ConnellSharon O'Connell (Image: Peak Village)

Previously formed by two makers and set to close in November 2022, Sharon volunteered to step in and take over the organisation’s management, which in turn led to the development of the store at Peak Village.

‘It’s evolved into the thriving inclusive arts collective and new store that you see today,’ she says proudly.

‘Opening the shop has been one of the highlights of my life. Mentoring other makers, helping them develop their businesses and achieve the sales their talents deserve comes a close second.’

Currently with 138 members, and a requirement to live and work in Derbyshire, Sharon explains that in order to be eligible to have their work showcased in the new Peak Village shop, members must adhere to particular standards.

‘The arts and crafts need to be high quality and handmade – this is so important to the concept of the store, she adds.

With opportunities for members to hold exhibitions in The Little Gallery towards the back of the store, as well as taking part in events and run workshops, the new store provides a platform for The Derbyshire Makers artists and makers to showcase their work, whilst meeting customers face-to-face.

Heather Arbon's textile art takes inspiration from the Derbyshire countryside Heather Arbon's textile art takes inspiration from the Derbyshire countryside (Image: Heather Arbon)

‘Our makers in the shop each day often bring their work with them too,’ Sharon says.

‘It’s lovely for customers to see the work they are doing, chat to them and recognise that everything is genuinely handcrafted. This ethos has been at the heart of the store since it was first envisaged last year.’

Following the success of a 2023 spring fair held at Peak Village, Sharon describes how an eight-week pop-up shop last summer, and then at Christmas, further developed an idea for the permanent Derbyshire Makers store, allowing her to test the waters to see whether her pipe dream could become a reality.

Working with a fellow textile artist and member Jude Shore to display the stock in store and carefully design the interiors, Sharon felt a responsibility in representing the artists and emphasising their talents.

Kimberley MacDonald's style fuses joyfulness with everyday functionality Kimberley MacDonald's style fuses joyfulness with everyday functionality (Image: Kimberley MacDonald)

‘Initially I was very nervous to hear the response to the store’, she recalls. ‘But overall, the makers have been delighted with the look of the shop and how we’ve displayed everyone’s work to the best advantage.

‘It’s been a sigh of relief to hear comments about how good the store looks from our makers and customers.’

With a variety of artistic skillsets in colourful products across glass and jewellery making - as well as leathercraft, ceramics, fine art, botanical skincare, fashion and textiles - muted interiors and vintage display cabinets complement the works on display.

‘With 30 to 40 different makers in the shop at any one time, we needed a neutral palette to harmonise the room and allow all the various colours and textures of the art to really pop; after all, they are the stars of the show!’ says Sharon.

Elsie Moss skincare is handcrafted using quality, ethical and naturally derived ingredients Elsie Moss skincare is handcrafted using quality, ethical and naturally derived ingredients (Image: Elsie Moss)

‘The flow of the store is important too as we lead the customer on a journey and ensure they see all the treasures the shop has to offer in a beautifully inviting environment.’

Katayune Jacquin, Peak Village centre manager agrees.

‘The Derbyshire Makers is a stunning shop representing the amazing talent Derbyshire has to offer in all forms of art and making.

‘Visitors are also able to peruse a wonderful range that’s been carefully curated, whilst having a unique opportunity to meet the makers. It’s great that those looking after the store on a daily basis can engage with customers from a position of genuine knowledge.

‘It’s been extremely rewarding to support the organisation in realising their dream of having a permanent home.’

Many of Delicut artist Alison's pieces of work are inspired by Derbyshire landmarks Many of Delicut artist Alison's pieces of work are inspired by Derbyshire landmarks (Image: Delicut)

With uniquely engaging opportunities for customers, Katayune also intends for the shop to be a draw for visitors to experience the complex as a whole and this, she explains, is part of a wider redevelopment of Peak Village.

‘The site has undergone major investment since the Devonshire Group acquired it in 2021 and The Derbyshire Makers store is part of a new approach to attract unique businesses,’ she says.

‘There’s also a fresh strategy to turn the village into a vibrant hub for visitors and we want to become the destination for these wonderfully unique gifts.’

With a positive response so far since its opening, Katayune believes this is testament to customers wanting local creatives to thrive, something Sharon agrees with.

‘The smiles on our customers’ faces and the joy we bring them proves creative industries are so important to everyone – we want The Derbyshire Makers store and organisation as a whole to ensure this outlook continues.’

To discover more about The Derbyshire Makers and for information on events at Peak Village visit: and

Meet some of The Derbyshire Makers:

Elsie Moss Botanical

Advocating vegan and cruelty-free practices using sustainable packaging and avoiding the use of palm oil, Elsie Moss skincare is handcrafted using high-quality and ethical naturally derived ingredients. Through mineral-rich clays and beautifully scented pure essential oils, founder Lisa supports mindful and relaxing self-care regimes with skincare, bathing and aromatherapy products.


From her unique garden workshop in Derby, silversmith and sculptor Claire specialises in handmade metal clay jewellery with nature and animal themed designs. Created using a skilful two-part kiln firing technique and polished to form sterling silver and pure copper miniature works of art, Claire also creates bespoke pieces and specialises in one-of-a-kind canine designs.

Heather Arbon Textile Art

Taking inspiration from the Derbyshire countryside, Heather’s beautiful handstitched journals and sketchbooks are carefully crafted using an eco-contact printing technique. Transferring the natural pigments of organic materials and revealing imprints onto paper through steaming or simmering water, each piece is unique and as varied as the natural world.


Showcasing the intricacies of papercutting art, Belper based paper and textile artist Alison creates designs with extraordinary effect. Inspired by her passion for nature and iconic Derbyshire landmarks, Alison’s work features a sustainable textile range of plants made from upcycled materials featuring leaves printed with her designs.

Kimberley MacDonald

Stoneware ceramicist and artist Kimberley’s work combines wheel thrown and hand built sculptural techniques from her studio in Ashbourne. She creates functional and decorative ceramics, drawing on her passion for nature and folklore. Featuring bold and expressive hand painted underglaze surface patterns, Kimberley’s style fuses joyfulness with everyday functionality.

Crafty Glass Studio

Award-winning decorative glass designer Jyoti Hawley creates striking sculptural homeware, art and jewellery pieces with ocean, floral and seasonal themes. Mastering fused glass techniques, which require precision in joining pieces of glass at high temperatures within a kiln, Jyoti’s colourful handmade designs capture the beauty of nature through the medium of glass.